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Chapter 2

PSY312 chapter 2 textbook notes

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Hywel Morgan

CHAPTER 2 -what explains the longevity of Piaget’s theory? -communicates tangible sense of what children’s thinking is like – descriptions just feel right -addresses topics of interest to various groups such as parents, teachers, philosophers, scientists -examines development of the concepts of time, space, number – basic intellectual acquisitions of humankind -covers a broad age span and broad variety of achievements at any given age -had interesting observations The theory as a whole -Piaget had interest in biology and philosophy The stages of development -stage theorists assume -children in earlier stages reason differently than those in later stages -children’s reasoning on a given problem is similar at a given point in development -children will move abruptly to the next stage after spending a prolonged amount of time in a single stage -Piaget thought that children move through the 4 stages in the same specific order -sensorimotor (0 – 2 years) -at birth Piaget believed cognitive system of child was limited to motor reflexes -preoperational (2 – 6/7 years) -ability to represent the word symbolically -concrete operational (6/7 – 11/12 years) -ability to solve problems however still struggle with highly abstract concepts -formal operational (adolescence and adulthood) Developmental processes -assimilation, accommodation and equilibration essential for child to progress from stage to stage (according to Piaget) -assimilation – the ability to change incoming information so that it fits with their existing way of thinking (ex: calling a cat a dog because they are both furry and have 4 legs) -functional assimilation – the tendency to use a mental structure right away when it becomes available (ex: when a child first learns to talk they will talk to their crib) -behaviorists’ believe children are motivated by external reinforcers where functional assimilation believes the delight of mastering new skills was the reason for performing in this activity -accommodation – ability to adapt their thinking to new experiences -assimilation and accommodation influence each other and one is never present without the other -assimilation extreme case = fantasy play; accommodation extreme case = imitation -equilibration - ability to integrate all their separate pieces of knowledge of the world into a unified whole -3 phases: 1) children are in state of equilibrium as they are satisfied with their mode of thought 2) then in state of disequilibrium as their existing thinking become aware of shortcomings and are dissatisfied 3) then eliminates shortcomings by adopting a more sophisticated way of thinking (ex: a child thinks that animals are the only living things…then finds out plants grow and die as well) Opening assumptions -Piaget concentrated on scientific reasoning because of 3 considerations 1) viewed development as form of adaptation to reality 2) encountering problems stimulates cognitive growth….interest in cognitive growth leads to interest in problem solving 3) insights gained by observing a child’s reaction to unfamiliar situations -development occurs through cognitive activity The stage model -sensorimotor period has 6 substages 1) modification of reflexes (0 – 1 month) -at birth infants will suck quite similarly regardless of the object in their mouth…after the first month will suck a nipple differently than a finger – accommodation 2) primary circular reactions (1 – 4 months) -circles involve infants’ actions, the effect on the environment and impact on infants’ subsequent actions of the effect of the earlier actions on environment -ex: infant tries to grab at everything – if they produce some interesting effect they will attempt to duplicate it by repeating action -begin to coordinate actions that originally were separate reflexes -limited in 3 ways: -attempt to reproduce exact behaviour that made original interesting event and do not vary behaviour -actions have a large trial-and-error component -only try to repeat actions where outcome of action involves their own bodies 3) secondary circular reactions (4 – 8 months) -become interested in outcomes occurring beyond their bodies -organize the components of their circular reactions more efficiently 4) coordination of secondary circular reactions (8 – 12 months) -able to coordinate 2 or more secondary circular reactions into efficient routine -ability to form mental representations (out of sight no longer means out of mind) 5) tertiary circular reactions (12 – 18 months) -search for new ways to interact with objects and explore the potential uses to which objects can be put 6) beginnings of representational thought (roughly 18 – 24 months) -transitional between sensorimotor and preoperational -internalized representations are first produced -preoperational period -deferred imitation (imitation of activity hours or days after it occurred) earliest sign of internal representations -2 types of internal representations -symbols – idiosyncratic representations mea
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